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US WEST Promises to Expand Wireless Access

US WEST Wednesday launched a new advanced wireless network designed to deliver Internet-based wireless services to millions more U.S. customers.

The mini-tower technology was developed in partnership with Alcatel (ALA), Ericsson (SEK), Nortel Networks (NT), and Tekelec Inc. (TKLC). It features an open-network architecture that enables U S WEST to quickly deploy advanced Web-based wireless services.

Peter Mannetti, U S WEST Wireless president, said the new wireless network is not only environmentally friendly, it also uses traditional Internet Protocols.

"In addition to making the cell sites more environmentally friendly, we taught the network to speak the language of the Internet." Mannetti said.

"Before we developed this new architecture, our network spoke the language of the wireless PCS telephone. Now it speaks the language of the Internet, TCP/IP," Mannetti added. "With this breakthrough, it will be easier for us to deliver new, data-driven features to our customers."

Solomon D. Trujillo, US WEST (USW) chairman, president and CEO, said the new technology would first be made available in Salt Lake City.

"This breakthrough wireless technology will help put the power, and now mobility of the Internet in the palms of consumers' hands," Trujillo said. "It's fitting we're launching this in Salt Lake City, where in 2002 athletes will be swifter, higher and stronger. This new service lets consumers do the same."

U S WEST's Salt Lake City wireless network was built entirely with the new open-network architecture and PICOcells. The company plans to deploy the network technology in 22 new markets primarily in US WEST's northern service area. Further deployment is scheduled for 24 existing US WEST wireless markets including Denver, Seattle, Portland, Phoenix and Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan areas.

Along with the launch of its new wireless network technology, U S WEST is providing its initial set of Web-based wireless information services. Customers may select up to six different categories of information services including sports scores, stock market results, weather and news bulletins.